Star Fucking Hipsters at The Salt City Cellar

Posted April 4, 2011 in
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Photo: Frank Carroll

 Despite what I’ve read on bathroom walls, I was under the impression that punk was, in fact, quite dead—or at least punk as I was initially introduced to it. In my mind, all the street punx that hadn’t burned out completely had replaced their mohawks with misshapen dreads and converted themselves into freight-riding crustlords. That, or they’d put on Rayban knockoffs and turned into snotty garage  rock dudes. So you can imagine my surprise when I strolled up to the Star Fucking Hipsters playing a private party at The Salt City Cellar on March 26 and found myself surrounded by leather-bristles-studs-and-acne types hanging out outside the venue smoking cigarettes.

 

Up the punx! Why not, right? There were a million of them there, and they were all hopped up and ready to see a band made up of musicians historically essential to the U.S.’s punk and third-wave ska scene: Choking Victim, Leftover Crack, The Slackers, etc., so the SFH show had my attention piqued as well.

 

Previous to this magical evening, I was a Cellar virgin, but I can’t think of a more amusing way to have my cherry popped.  The Cellar is a great space, tucked away in a basement behind some church, and has the capacity for hundreds of drunken U.K. ’82 disciples skanking around and comparing Varukers back patches.

 

Unfortunately, I missed the first band, but I waltzed in right as locals Storming Stages and Stereos was setting up. Now, SSAS and I have had it out with each other in the pages of SLUG before, and it’s no secret that I’m not their biggest fan. After all, they’re a “ska” band and have a song called “Punching Two-Tone in the Face.” It’s your basic, embarrassing, early-2000s style rock-with-horns stuff, influenced by hardcore, cheese-rock and third wave garbage (but don’t compare them to Reel Big Fish or they’ll go apeshit on you). I stormed right out the front door to suffer in the cold, but admittedly, their music just isn’t my thing.

 

The Willkills, who are a staple of SLC punk rock, did their thing next. They come from the pyrate punkish, Dropkicks-worshipping camp, and were all wearing working class tweed hats as if to declare “this is Boston, not Salt Lake.” A few of their songs had an upbeat ska feel to them and I saw a guy in a Blood for Blood t-shirt losing his shit over them, which seemed appropriate. They ended their set by covering The Suicide Machines’ cover of “I Don’t Wanna Hear It” by Minor Threat, and then played “Rudy Can’t Fail” by The Clash. Stylistically all over the place, but fun enough if you’re, like, into Flogging Molly and shit.

 

The next band, Rendan Terror, totally blew my mind. It was like a bizarro world time warp. All the dudes in the band had Motley Crue haircuts, and the singer was topped with a brightly colored skingirl hairdo. She was wearing a cut-and-sewn The Virus t-shirt (you know, or some band that sounds exactly like that) that showed plenty of boob. Also—and I swear I’m not making this up—she had a bullet belt tattoo around her waist. They made me think of Wolf Brigade, and pretty soon it was all too much for me, so I started looking around at other tattoos. Highlights: a girl with a Wes Borland’s (THE GUITARIST FOR LIMP BIZKIT) name on her arm, and a kid with a clown mohawk and the Lower Class Brats logo on the side of his head.  

 

It was also during Rendan Terror’s set that I discovered a shelf full of free zines. Someone had been kind enough to print up some Animal Liberation Front and rape survivor support stuff as well as some copies of Emma Golman’s “Anarchism.” Issues 1-6 of Robin Banks’ Driven were also present and I have to say that that dude does a great job of covering the Salt Lake punk scene, even if some of the writing is a little sentimental. His art is incredible though, and you would do well to get a hold of some of his work. Finding his zines was the highlight of the evening for sure.

 

Finally, after a set that the American Geological Institute would have ranked in length somewhere between the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras, Rendan Terror vacated the stage and let SFH load in their gear. It was pretty disappointing that neither of the girls were in the band anymore, but seeing C-squat idol Sturgeon (formerly Stza Crack) play a set is something that should happen at least once in every self-respecting punker’s life, and who knows how much longer he’ll be around if he keeps threatening the cops and doesn’t take care of his body lice problem.

 

“Two Cups of Tea” is an anarcho-classic, and I derived a twisted pleasure in hearing a legion of punk rock mutants shouting the words “In every single town every officer is down! All dead police!” The shrill vocals were getting these kids worked up into a frenzy, and anytime there was even a hint of anything that vaguely resembled the crack rock steady syncopation of Choking Victim and L.O.C. fame, they went nuts. The collective juices of everyone in the Cellar evaporated only to collect on the air ducts and drip back down into the spellbound crowd. Sturgeon made a point to let the drops fall into his waiting mouth, which made me want to puke my guts out.

 

By the end of the set, there were so many street punks on stage, yelling out requests that I think the band had pretty much had it with Salt Lake. I swear the dude next to me was sobbing and had tears streaming down his face as he shouted, “Infested! Play infested! God dammit, just play infested!”

Photos:
Photo: Frank Carroll Photo: Frank Carroll